Do you feel condemned or struggle with guilt or self-blame? Why is it difficult to shake some of these feelings? The problem with guilt is that it doesn’t go away by itself; it just gets buried. Often the only thing that will bury it is something toxic or addicting. Deep inside each one of us is a need for forgiveness. What do we do if we can’t seem to shake guilt?
about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned.John 16:11
Hell was never created for people, but we can follow the devil there and the enemy would love nothing better. God, like a good father, hates to see us be tormented by guilt and shame. Condemnation comes from the enemy of our souls who delights in every horrible thing that happens to humans. Why? He can’t get to God, but he can get to us. He knows that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins. The enemy knows that the only way to hurt God is to hurt us and separate us from Him. The more we are destroyed, hurt, pained, tormented, and heartbroken, the more delighted the enemy is. What about guilt and forgiveness?
… 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment:John 16:7-10
Conviction’s purpose is to convict the world of sin, define righteousness, and warn of judgment. All of these work together to show the world the need for a Savior. You will know what comes from the Holy Spirit by the fruit it produces. Condemnation makes you feel bad for the sake of torment; there’s no way out, no end; it is defeating and depressing. Conviction shows us where we fall short of God and where we need to ask forgiveness, there can be sorrow, but the sorrow ends in grace, gratefulness, change, and redemption.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.Romans 8:1-4
So Let Us
There is nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness. We feel guilt when we hurt others or sin, but God never intended guilt as our penance because Jesus paid our penance on the cross. So let us come to God, without fear, to exchange our guilt and sin for forgiveness. Feeling guilty doesn’t change us; coming to God and asking forgiveness does. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly before the throne of grace to receive his mercy.